Amorim in demand? Newcastle sales? PSR to bite this summer? Ask Ornstein


Once a week for an hour, The Athletic’s subscribers can ask me for my views on anything from the world of football.

I have pulled together some of my favourite questions and my answers to them from the latest Q&A below. Thanks to all who took part today.

Want to ask me a question? I’ll be back next week for another session.


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Gordon H asked: Are Liverpool aiming for a certain time to have their new manager sorted?

David Ornstein: I’m not aware of a specific time, Gordon, but you would imagine they would want it comfortably done and dusted well ahead of the return to pre-season training. Now that Michael Edwards is back, Richard Hughes has been announced as the new sporting director (even though he doesn’t officially start until the summer) and there is clarity over Xabi Alonso, I’d expect Hughes to finesse a plan (A, B, C for example) pretty much immediately. That means, from quite soon (or maybe it has already happened), he should have a fairly clear direction of travel.

Then it is about holding conversations, negotiating and completing the appointment. Naturally with so much to play for this season and Jurgen Klopp still being in position, they will want to be quite discreet. Plus it shouldn’t surprise us if it’s something of a slow burner because most or all of the candidates are likely to be in jobs and — for many — at a critical point in the season.

It’s a huge task and test of the Liverpool hierarchy, but I’m sure they will make a strong appointment and can then set about building on the foundations already laid, to try to create a successful new era.

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Alonso has opted to remain at Bayer Leverkusen (Rene Nijhuis/MB Media/Getty Images)

Mac Alli A: Any update on Ruben Amorim?

Ornstein: My most recent information is that he is very much the frame for Liverpool — not Barcelona — and conversations have taken place. But despite many on the outside suggesting he is the top target, I’m not sure that’s the case internally; not because someone else is or he won’t become that, but because there isn’t one while Liverpool continue with what will be a thorough process.

Clearly Amorim is a wanted man and I definitely expect him to leave Sporting this summer. I hear the Premier League is his preference and, while we don’t know for sure yet, there could well be multiple vacancies. So even if Liverpool do decide to go for him he will also need to decide if they are where he wants to go. Whoever takes Amorim will need to pay Sporting for his services; I’ve been told the figure this summer is €10million (£8.58m; $10.9m).

Others have reported higher but, whatever the precise figure, it is a lot lower than it was when Chelsea spoke to him before appointing both Graham Potter and then Mauricio Pochettino.

An additional point worth mentioning is that one of Amorim’s key staff members is Paulo Barreira, who is an injury prevention/conditioning expert and used to work at Liverpool. If things do develop in the direction of Amorim to Liverpool, Barreira is probably someone to keep an eye on.

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Sporting head coach Amorim could be in demand (Pedro Loureiro/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Dominic G: Hi David, will clubs nervous about Profit and Sustainability rules (PSR) mean we see a decrease in spending in the Summer ahead like we saw in January?

Ornstein: Yes, I think it will certainly have an impact. It has to. The financial situations of the Premier League clubs are there for all to see, with most publishing their accounts at the moment. Many are close to the line. I expect a flurry of activity before June 30 as clubs seek to make sure they’re compliant.

Once that ‘deadline’ is out of the way, they will have a clearer picture of what money they can play with and also, because it will be the start of their next financial year, they can probably spend a bit more liberally in the knowledge they still have time to balance the books.

The landscape is further complicated by a likely change to the PSR rules, bringing them more in line with UEFA’s squad cost control measures. Overall, it definitely seems like we’re in the midst of a tightening of belts, now that clubs know the rules have teeth. There will be a lot more activity than we saw in January — because the majority of teams plan and prefer to do their business in the summer rather than the winter — but I don’t think it will scale the heights of summers gone by.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

What is PSR and why do Premier League rules only allow clubs to lose £105m?

Andrew Z: What’s your take on the stories suggesting that a luxury tax may be imposed? Is there any truth to it?

Ornstein: Mike Keegan’s story is really interesting and he is a great reporter, so no doubt it is well sourced and gives us some insight as to what Premier League clubs are discussing among themselves. From what I know, this is an idea being explored by some clubs who don’t like and/or are in a precarious PSR position. Others are against it and I don’t think Mike is suggesting we’re anywhere near this coming to fruition or happening at all.

With UEFA having already moved to new squad cost control measures and the Premier League expected to adopt something similar — largely because their clubs competing in Europe will need to abide by UEFA rules anyway — I’m not sure how realistic the luxury tax is.

But this is all about having conversations, throwing possibilities around and trying to create a future that is better for everyone (although, with a lot of self-interest at play, I don’t know how realistic that is).

Stuart B: With the rumours of the Premier League scrapping the PSR for a ‘luxury tax’ system how would this comply with the new UEFA rules which is based on being able to spend a percentage of revenue on transfers and wages?

Ornstein: It wouldn’t!

James S: When should we expect announcement in regards to Everton’s second hearing? Not seen any concrete info like we did with Forest.

Ornstein: Next week most likely. The Easter break was always likely to delay it a tiny bit.


Chris: Quite a few Newcastle questions already! Mine was going to be about the rumours of needing to sell first this summer and likelihood of it being Bruno Guimaraes, Alexander Isak or others if true?

Ornstein: I don’t think it’s a case of needing to sell before buying, but more that a sale will be needed to help balance the books. So it’s not so much about the chronology; a sale may come after a purchase. But, yes, a sale is required and Newcastle have been quite clear in admitting that.

Whether people like this or not, the sale of a homegrown player would be the best financial solution because it would represent pure profit from a PSR perspective. Also, as much as I’m sure Newcastle love their homegrown players, stars like Isak and Bruno are currently more important.

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Isak scored against Everton on Tuesday (ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

But herein lies the problem for them; there aren’t really any homegrown players I imagine they are willing to part with who would generate the required finances to make it worthwhile. Those who would do that are the likes of Isak and Bruno. Sven Botman may well have fallen into that category had it not been for his knee injury.

Of course, Newcastle wouldn’t want to lose any of them either… but something will have to give.

For all the recent reports on Isak, I don’t personally know of clubs who are actively looking to move for him — granted, he has plenty of admirers but the fee will be huge, his injury record may be a concern and he is so crucial to Newcastle I imagine they will do everything in their power to keep him. So I would be shocked if Isak was sold. Eddie Howe has pretty much said that in recent days and I saw some comments from Isak yesterday suggesting he plans to stay.

Bruno is an interesting one, though, because I’m aware of clubs who have a concrete interest in him.

His style and ability to operate as a No 6 and No 8 is what a number of top sides are seeking. Is he as vital and irreplaceable to Newcastle as Isak? I’m not saying a move is sure to happen but equally it wouldn’t surprise me.

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Guimaraes has attracted suitors (James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Matt B: Do you see Jeremie Frimpong coming to the Premier League (and if so, which clubs might go for him)?

Ornstein: There’s plenty of interest in Frimpong from Premier League clubs and rightly so, Matt, but the last I heard the idea of continuing his career in Europe carried greater appeal for him than England.

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Frimpong is thriving at Bayer Leverkusen (Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Michael C: What is the latest with Dan Ashworth and Manchester United and how is this drawn-out process affecting the club’s summer transfer strategy?

Ornstein: The clubs are still far apart so we’ll have to see if that gap can be breached. Should Newcastle get a replacement in, perhaps their stance will soften a little. I don’t know that but it’s plausible. Equally, perhaps Manchester United would be willing to pay a little more than what they intended, but I don’t imagine it will be anywhere near the £20million Newcastle want.

What’s more likely is that Manchester United reach an agreement soon with Southampton for Jason Wilcox and he comes in ahead of the window to work with INEOS, existing club personnel and Omar Berrada once he finishes gardening leave in the summer. As highly as Ashworth is regarded and as unwanted as this situation is for Manchester United, his role is more about building a club, structures and processes than specialising in recruitment.

So it’s not a mad rush, as shown by the willingness to wait for him if needed.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

What Jason Wilcox would bring to Manchester United

Rob R: With the news that Manchester United have made an approach for Jason Wilcox to become technical director, do you have any news on what might happen to Darren Fletcher?

Ornstein: Fletcher has not been operating as a traditional technical director and his title does not really reflect the various responsibilities he has. He is well regarded and I’m sure there will be conversations with him about staying at United in some form or another. He will, of course, need to decide whether what is being proposed is right for him or not.


David T: How safe do you see Sean Dyche is at Everton? Personally, I think he is secure regardless of what happens given the background issues…

Ornstein: Everton have far more important matters to be focusing on than Dyche’s future — notably the second PSR case, the proposed takeover and their Premier League survival. He has been managing in terrible circumstances and I doubt a change of manager is anywhere near the top of their agenda. I’m not even sure they could afford to sack him if they wanted to, given their financial predicament.

Max Y: Will Chelsea be in the market for a new left-back this summer? Marc Cucurella’s been underwhelming since joining in 2022 and Ben Chilwell doesn’t seem the same player after a really unlucky time with injuries — surely the club will be looking to bring somebody in?

Ornstein: I think they will sell a left-back this summer (whether Ian Maatsen or another) but I don’t know for sure that they will buy one. Perhaps they will go with what they have and focus on strengthening in other areas.

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Maatsen has done well on loan at Borussia Dortmund (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Tom C: Most Arsenal fans assumed Emile Smith Rowe will move on in the summer, but after last night’s performance and Mikel Arteta’s consistent praise of him, do you see him having a long-term future at the club?

Ornstein: Any Arsenal fan or neutral would like that and let’s see what the final weeks of the season bring because nothing is set in stone.

But we can’t ignore what has happened until now (the injuries and lack of game time), his homegrown status (pure profit for PSR) or the strong market there will be for him. It’s a massive call for Arsenal and the player himself.

H 405 A: Any updates about who might replace Vinai as the next CEO of Arsenal? There have been zero rumours about this.

Ornstein: It was announced in January that Richard Garlick has been appointed as managing director and he will replace Vinai Venkatesham this summer, despite holding a different title.

(Top photo: Henrique Casinhas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)





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